The first version of the Internet was no faster than a local DMV branch, simple in approach, and mostly used for decentralized communications. Internet 2.0 is comprised of the programmable Internet that you see today, including everything from content and networks to search engines and browsers. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are Blockchain 2.0, the “programmable version”; allowing all participants to exchange information and data on an irrefutable and distributed ledger. In doing so, it cuts out many of the traditional middlemen seen in corporations. DAO’s have the potential to create peer-to-peer networks utilizing self-executing smart contracts, independent of interpretation from outside influences
. Whatever means of exchange is used within the DAO is both meant to power smart contracts, and as a means of voting so the community can reach consensus.
While DAO’s represent a novel opportunity to disrupt many existing legacy systems, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations should also be viewed with skepticism and much of the excitement surrounding them can reasonably be described as fraudulent. While their decentralized nature promises to create an economy of the likes the world has never seen before, the vast majority of these organizations are neither decentralized nor ready for the complicated real world use cases they claim to solve.
While many advocate for the security provided from many points of failure, a DAO’s lack of centralization could also lead to increased vulnerability. For example, when a project runs on code that is centralized at a single point, fixing the issue is as simple as solving the problem, and fixing whatever issue in the code that exists. In a truly decentralized ecosystem, each individual node needs to update its code. This becomes even more important if the issue is time sensitive. Though decentralized systems are harder to compromise, if a route for doing so is found, the results are far more dire.
DAO’s create a tremendous amount of problems from a legal perspective as well. If investor funds are stolen through a leak or problem in the code, who is to be held accountable? Some argue it should be the programmers, while others argue in practicality, every single individual could be held accountable. (Levine, M. (17 May 2016)."
) Additionally, the SEC in the United States has ruled that some of these DAO’s are illegal securities. Others promote projects claiming to be DAO’s, when in reality the parameters that can be voted on are so limited it can best be described as a ruse, or all voting tokens are under the control of the overarching organization and the system is only slightly distributed, not decentralized. Additionally, in a true decentralized system there is no one that wants to sign paperwork for an organization that’s path is far out of his or her realm of control.
The most famous use of a complex DAO thus far took place by a company called Slock.it, which ran on the Ethereum Network. After a token sale of 150 million dollars worth of Ethereum, the team began to fund proposals and expand the network. Feeling pressure from lofty expectations, the founders of The DAO,
took huge risks. However, when the codebase was debated, it was entirely flawed. A hack immediately siphoned 50 million dollars worth of investor’s Eth into a “Child DAO”. Because this represented such a large breach in the Ethereum network, the Ethereum foundation decided to step in and use their massive influence and voting power to fork the network.
This action runs contrary to the original goal of a DAO; to be independent of any formal central governing body. When the Ethereum Foundation stepped in to hard fork the network, the novelty of an autonomous decentralized organization immediately disappeared. In order for a DAO to be successful in its mission of truly being autonomous, it must be released with a strong enough foundation to stand the test of time and update to reflect necessary changes based off of voting procedures. By stepping in to fork the network, Ethereum not only sacrificed the integrity of The DAO,
but they also sacrificed the integrity of the entire Ethereum network. With so many Ethereum tokens locked up in The DAO
, the Ethereum Foundation had a conflict of interest. A loss of investor funds would lead to severe problems both internally and publically and could lead many to write off their promising emerging technology. Additionally, members of the Ethereum foundation controlled 70% of the DAOs voting power. The voting for the fork lasted only 12 hours and made minimal effort to inform token holders. Instead of The DAO
failing as an independent organization, it was absorbed into Ethereum. (Price, Rob 7 June 2016)
This is strikingly similar to the conflicts of interest seen in 2008 during the financial crash. John Allison, the longest serving CEO of a top 25 financial institution wrote “Many of the financial institutions that should have been allowed to fail had a history of being crony capitalists; that is, these companies did not advocate limited government but instead sought special favors for themselves… Crony socialist is probably a better name for these individuals and firms,” (John Allison, 6). Governments help of their friends and donors have created a precedent that allows failing institutions to continue to thrive. When the Eth team decided that the DAO
was too big to fail, they did not allow free markets and token holders to make the best decision for the organization, they simply used their undue influence for a cyber Coup D’état. Failure should be encouraged to promote conscious investment and out of fairness to organizations that have been successful. Instead, the Ethereum Foundation abused its power and hard forked the network to help out their friends.
While The DAO
has failed, a more simple approach has shown that it can succeed. Released in open source code in 2009, Bitcoin is a DAO in the simplest terms. Though imperfect and controlled completely miners, it has been under attack every day and has never been breached. Time has shown that its fundamental foundation is rock solid. As a result, despite being considered slow and outdated by some, Bitcoin holds nearly a majority of the crypto cap. Investors have seen that Bitcoin is capable of running without outside interference for nearly ten years now and responded with capital infusion and investor confidence. Additionally, Bitcoins slow governance model can create confidence that the rules wont quickly be changed from under holder’s feet. Bitcoin has survived and will continue to be successful because it has remained mostly autonomous. Though, it is important to note that Bitcoin still struggles with mining decentralization due to the efficiency of ASIC processors. Bitcoin is not a traditional bank, but is certainly showing it has the capabilities to transform traditional stores of value and to be part of challenging the Federal Reserve.
With true Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, free markets will cause some to fail miserably with the strongest disrupting the worlds most important and antiquated legacy systems. Free markets of this magnitude revolved around banks during the Wildcat Banking Era from (1837-63). This era, marked by extremely lax banking laws saw many banks fail and declare bankruptcy. However, the problems of one bank where not contagious to others and banks that survived conducted themselves in a manner that would not require a bailout or special favors to be successful. Additionally, the era saw increases in banks educating its customers and a general increase in knowledge regarding financial institutions (Arthur J. Rolnick, Warren E. Weber). John Allison would argue that this same model should to be taken by DAO’s in the future to insure we don’t have a repeat of the Federal Reserve. By allowing faulty DAO’s to fail, investors will lose their money and be incentivized to make more informed decisions.
“Exchange is the lifeblood, not only of our economy, but of our civilization itself,” (Murray Rothbard, 1990). For the United States and much of the world, exchange runs through a thoroughly bureaucratic and inefficient institution called the Federal Reserve. The tribulations of the Federal Reserve have caused a laundry list of problems for the entire world. Despite this, the Federal Reserve see’s no competition and has been encouraged to operate on a failing model. The overlay of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and Cryptocurrency promise to, at the very least, “bring discipline on a very discretionary organization,” (John Allison).
Today, the Federal Reserve of the United States no longer uses precious metal to back up its reserves. Instead, a U.S Dollar is based on the full faith of the U. S Government. In effect, the Government wants you to believe that the dollar is based on the countries GDP. The United States and many others have attempted at their own demise, to print themselves to prosperity.
Crony practices such as quantitative easing have left the world at the brink of financial ruin with the Fed even teasing the idea of negative interest rates for the next recession. (Kenneth Rogoff, American Economic Association) Once again, massive conflicts of interest persist. In some countries, corrupt governments who control the money supply are estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars of stolen money while their citizens starve, [The Independent]. Meanwhile, these same Governments create social policies and minimum wages they cannot pay for. To combat that problem, they simply print more money. By overprinting money, the Fed has devalued the U. S dollar as many central banks worldwide have done in the past. This has destroyed purchasing power and made market basket goods far more expensive. Often, this type of economic meddling is a precursor for authoritarian style governments, as seen in Chavez’s Venezuela, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, and countless other examples that clearly demonstrate the horrifying end result of central planning.
Friedrich Hayek famously said, “Money is one of the greatest instruments of freedom ever invented by man.” Unfortunately our freedom is directly controlled by the highly discretionary and corrupt organizations of the world, central banks. A DAO for financial transactions, would increase transparency and financial freedoms in ways otherwise unimaginable.
Bitcoin has caught the attention of both markets and governments worldwide due to its lack of a Government backing. The greatest minds spanning from Aristotle to Allison agree on what money needs to be. Durable, transferable, divisible, scarce, recognizable and fungible. “Government issued” is certainly not one of those specifications. Especially when the concept of scarcity falls of a cliff entirely. Government does not mean that governance and structure of some kind are not essential. In its current state, Bitcoin is best as a digital gold. Along with its properties of being transferable, auditable, fungible and divisible, Bitcoin is also exceptionally difficult to change. In order for a new policy to be implemented in Bitcoin, miners have to form a 95% consensus on it. Because the rules are unlikely to ever really change from under you, Bitcoin is best compared to digital gold with the advantages that it doesn’t require duplicate paper receipts or wheel barrels to exchange.
However Bitcoins lack of maneuverability can also lead to issues. In order to radically challenge the global monetary system, others will have to play leading roles alongside Bitcoin. In the Bitcoin network, if a consensus is not met between the different groups of miners, two forms of the same currency could be fork, IE Bitcoin Cash. Every Bitcoin Wallet is accredited with an equal amount of the new currency (Bitcoin Cash). These forks create many dilemmas. First and foremost, this is the equivalent of fools gold. Second, it creates unadopted competition, artificial inflation and rampant confusion leading to the loss of funds. There have been innumerable examples of people trying to use Bitcoin Cash as Bitcoin and losing their funds. At present, there are a slew of Bitcoin posers including Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Private, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin Gold and more likely to come. None of these are or can be accepted as Bitcoin. Additionally, the threat of a looming fork makes it extremely difficult to make the necessary changes to the protocol.
Those who validate transactions are the governing body that supports Bitcoin; the miners. As there is no salary dedicated to developers in the block reward, developers rely on donations. With these donations come conflicts of interest arise. Bitcoin has become relatively centralized and those who hold and transact the currency are not the ones who decide its fate. This is an inherently flawed system.
One project that truly shines is Decred- a lesser-known cryptocurrency developed from the original group of overarching founders of Bitcoin. Like Bitcoin, its creator is unknown and the coin was not distributed via an ICO. Instead, developers paid for 4% of the supply while another 4% was dealt to those who were able to solve complex puzzles via airdrop.
Decred presents a proof of stake/proof of work hybrid form of governance. In this format, nodes stake coins and validate blocks, giving the stakers of the currency part of the block reward as pay for their work. This system allows the actual holders of the currency to decide the direction of the network because miner’s blocks cannot be confirmed without stakers approval. This system is not a democracy- each individual staker gets voting power based off of how much skin they have in the game.
The block reward of Decred is set up so that 60% goes to Proof of Work miners for creating blocks, 30% goes to Proof of Stake miners for validating the blocks, and 10% goes to development for future improvements. As stakers get a portion of the Block Reward simply for staking their currency, staking coins can be a form of passive income for holders. The 10% development reward goes directly to the Decred Autonomous Organization. When a member of the community has an idea for an improvement to the network, they stake a fee to have his idea presented to the community on a Reddit-like forum called Politeia. All proposals, comments, and votes and are time stamped on the blockchain to ensure transparency. Additionally, any censorship is public and a dialogue can always be publicly opened. This stops shadow banning and supports freedom of information and ideas. If members of the community vote, and decide to develop, they also vote to decide where to allocate every single cent. Through the proposal system, anything can be proposed. If members of the community feel that developers are not performing to standards, they can vote to replace them. If members of the community think a certain initiative should be taken to change the currency, for example- privacy, it is proposed and voted on with history permanently encoded and time stamped onto the Blockchain.
Once the new proposal for the network, is completed, miners and nodes receive a code base with the old and new code. Miners run the version of it that they prefer, signaling their vote. If 75% percent of the miners run the new code and have their blocks confirmed by stakers, the network uses smart contracts to automatically fork and begins to only accept transactions following the rules of the new protocol.
In effect, holders are not only investing, but are also the key role players in the organization. It is stakeholder’s final decision to decide which protocol the network should follow and that for transactions to be confirmed. Under the Howey test, it is unlikely that Decred will be considered a security. There is no investment contract and stakeholders are receiving reward for their work, not that of others.
Additionally, the way in which tokens where distributed gave 4% to developers as reward for their work, and 4% to members of the community who worked to solve puzzles which granted access to an airdrop of Decred. Fair distribution from the beginning makes it far more likely that this project will be a success in the long term. This coin is better suited to fight ASICs and centralization and is far more autonomous than Bitcoin because developers don’t have to accept donations creating conflicts of interest. Developers and funding answers only to voting.
Like Bitcoin, Decred plans to only have 21,000,000 tokens and no Government exists to print more Decred. However, non-traditional inflation in the form of tail emissions after the 21 millionth block is something that can be voted on by the community if they feel it is necessary. Decred maneuverability to overcome and evolve along sound, calculated development makes it primed to be another catalyst in the dismantling of central blanks worldwide.
Though money remains the most immediately rewarding and possible undertaking of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, many more promising possibilities exist. One example that springs to mind is a decentralized versions of Uber or Airbnb with, service and user being directly connected without the transfer of data, or a portion of the price transferred to a “trusted” third party. The holy grail of DAO’s is revolutionizing social media to a truly open platform that allows open communication and expression without censorship, similar to Decreds Politeia. All of this must be done without violating the privacy of its users and manipulating their brains with dopamine shots from likes, shares and comments from conforming to whatever particular status quo is beneficial politically, economically or socially to the third party running the algorithm. The Decentralized Autonomous revolution is not just about regaining control of our money or retaining our privacy, it is about returning to humans that think with the brains they are born with instead of fed.
Central planning behind the world's most important organizations have led us down a disastrous path that will only lead to worse. Humanity has been given an opportunity to radically transform our institutions by harnessing the powers of technologies such as DAOs. The consequences of continuing down a path of irresponsible inflation and poorly disguised central planning is dire. Time after time, this has proven to be a recipe for authoritarian regimes and destroyed economies. Citizens of the United States are happy to look at the horrors of the situation of others and criticize the path they have taken to get there, when in reality, they are on an eerily similar path. Though we at the very beginning of experiments with decentralized autonomous organizations and many of their ICO’s are useless, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about their future. Change is on the way and the revolution will bring, at the very least, competition to the highly bureaucratic, corrupt and antiquated legacy systems of the world.
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To gently slow the process of losing the reward, developers have implemented a halving mechanism in the blockchain’s code. Depending on the coin, it occurs in a certain period of time – the reward goes lower until it finally disappears. In the Bitcoin example, the reward halves with 50% of its amount every 4 years. As such, miners total expenses will approach the rewards in bitcoin, which has been >90% of a miner's income. Long-term, bitcoin will either die, or it'll switch to a system where miner's primary income is from transaction fees. At that point you'll see cost per volume come down to something much more sensible. Bitcoin Income Tax Calculator. Here is a link to a bitcoin tax calculator to help estimate capital gains for estimation purposes. Consider CoinTracking to analyze all your trades and generate real time useful information such as the profit/loss of your trades, the value of your coins, balances, realized and unrealized gains, reports for tax declaration, and much more. 7 of the best bitcoin mining devices for 2019 - borseclub. 7 of the best bitcoin mining devices for 2019 - borseclub. Bitcoin network total computation speed. Bitcoin is seeing more transaction volume than gold. Boxing champion manny pacquiao launches ‘world’s first. By this estimation, the last Bitcoin will be mined after the 64th halving event, which should take place around 2140. After the last Bitcoin gets mined, the miners will rely entirely on transaction fees as a means of revenue, instead of the block reward. While transaction fees are minuscule compared to block rewards.
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